A pain in the back

The Underwriting Today newletter has been designed to help advisers to sell income protection by highlighting the risks of losing a job, and as a consequence a house, through back injury. Scottish Equitable claimed that there are 12 million GP visits and 1.6 million outpatient appointments for back problems. In 1998 there were 120 million days’ sickness absence due to low back pain, and 60 per cent of all adults suffering from back pain at least once in a year.

Matt Rann, head of underwriting at Scottish Equitable Protect, said that advisers need to aware of just what will pay out and make sure that the client understands this. "Back disorders rarely affect life expectancy – but are a major cause of disability. This is an area where IFAs often have queries – particularly when the client is applying for income protection or total and permanent disability cover. In this instance underwriters will look at areas such as the cause of the pain, the extent of of the disorder and the nature of the occupation – and assess these against the definitions of incapacity that the client has selected for their policy – especially the ‘own occupation’ definition."

Heather Armstrong, head of marketing at Scottish Equitable, said: "For IFAs with clients taking income protection policies, managing client expectations is crucial. That is why we aim to ensure that IFAs have written as much information as possible regarding the way their client’s policies have been underwritten, to enable the claims process to operate as smoothly as possible."